[PPV Recap] ‘WWF WrestleMania VI’ – The Ultimate Challenge…And Other Matches Too, I Guess

Date: April 1, 1990
Venue: The Skydome (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura

I have watched WrestleMania VI more than any other show I had on VHS, and I’ve even reviewed it already a couple of times since I began writing about pro wrestling. So why am I doing it again? Nostalgia aside WrestleMania VI is an important show that shifts the WWF from its 80s heyday to the 90s with a stellar main event that is way better than it had any right to be. Also it’s WrestleMania season and I feel like it. Cool? Cool. Let’s gooooo.

Champion Roll-Call

  • WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan
  • WWF Intercontinental Champion: The Ultimate Warrior
  • WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Colossal Connection (Haku & Andre The Giant)

The Lineup

  • Koko B. Ware vs. Rick Martel (*3/4)
  • The Colossal Connection [c] vs. Demolition for the WWF WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (*3/4)
  • Hercules vs. Earthquake (**)
  • Brutus Beefcake vs. Mr. Perfect (**)
  • Roddy Piper vs. Bad News Brown (DUD)
  • The Hart Foundation vs. The Bolsheviks (NR)
  • Tito Santana vs. The Barbarian (**)
  • Mixed Tag Team Match: Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire vs. Randy Savage & Sensational Sherri (**1/4)
  • The Rockers vs. The Orient Express (**1/4)
  • Jim Duggan vs. Dino Bravo (*1/4)
  • Ted DiBiase [c] vs. Jake Roberts for the MILLION DOLLAR CHAMPIONSHIP (**)
  • Big Boss Man vs. Akeem (NR)
  • Jimmy Snuka vs. Rick Rude (*1/2)
  • Champion vs. Champion: Hulk Hogan [World] vs. The Ultimate Warrior [Intercontinental] for the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP & WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (****3/4)

*****

-We pan the 60,000+ in attendance then go to the announce booth where Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura welcome the home audience. Ventura is FIRED UP, calling this event bigger than the Super Bowl, the World Series, AND The Rolling Stones. That’s high-praise. This is their final WrestleMania as a team and I’m really going to miss them. What a great duo they made. Cut to the ring where Robert Goulet sings the Canadian National Anthem. I love Robert Goulet; not for his singing mind you but due to his random guest stint on Boy Meets World and Will Ferrell’s all-time great impression of him on Saturday Night Live.

‘The Birdman’ Koko B. Ware vs. Rick ‘The Model’ Martel

THE RING CARTS HAVE RETURNED, YESSSS. Martel turned heel at last year’s WrestleMania and has settled into the gimmick of ‘The Model’, an arrogant narcissist who sprays his Arrogance cologne out of his comically-sized atomizer. Ware still isn’t getting much in the way of storylines or anything but he’s still good at pumping the crowd up and a good choice for the opening match.

Martel attacks Ware while the ref checks him for foreign objects, Ware catches him with a boot and a high crossbody from the middle turnbuckle for an early two-count. Ware sends Martel to the floor and celebrates with the crowd, who are HOT FOR SOME WRESTLING TONIGHT, Y’ALL. Ware slingshots Martel back into the ring but Martel outthinks his opponent and uses Ware’s own momentum to send him flying out to the floor. Canada hates Martel, despite the fact he’s Canadian. He’s French Canadian though so it doesn’t count I guess. Martel connects with a suplex, Ware manages to kick out. Martel showboats a bit but keeps on Ware with a backbreaker. He goes for the Boston Crab but Ware makes it to the ropes before he can fully turn it over. Ware no-sells some buckle shots and mounts a comeback, connecting with a pair of flying headbutts for the 1…2…Martel kicks out. Martel reverses a corner Irish whip and ducks Ware’s second flying crossbody, having learned from earlier. Martel signals for the end and this time successfully locks in the Boston Crab for the submission victory.

Rick Martel defeated Koko B. Ware via submission with the Boston Crab (5:30)

  • I used to tout this as one of my favorite opening matches in WrestleMania history but let it be known that I’m an IDIOT. It’s not bad or anything, and the crowd was into it the first few minutes, but it got real dull real quick. That’s disappointing. A decisive win for Martel though, so good for him. (*3/4)

-‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is standing by backstage with The Colossal Connection and their manager Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan. Okerlund slips and calls them ‘The Colostomy Collection’ which Heenan chides him for. Haku and Andre The Giant vow to retain the titles and eliminate their competition.

-Speak of the devils we go to the locker room where Sean Mooney is with Demolition. Ax vows to live up to his name by chopping his foes down, Smash wants to drive them off a cliff and watch them SMASH into smithereens. You get it? Do you get it?

WWF World Tag Team Championship
The Colossal Connection (Haku & Andre The Giant) [c] [w/ Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan] vs. Demolition (Ax & Smash)

The Brain Busters were originally the tag team of The Heenan Family, ending Demolition’s first title reign, but after leaving the company the stable switched gears and The Colossal Connection was formed. The duo proceeded to defeat Demolition to end their second title reign at the end of the previous year and have been champs ever since.

The champs attack right at the bell, Andre clearing out Ax and Haku working over Smash. Demolition rebound and begin wearing Haku down with clubbing forearms and chops. Haku slows the momentum a bit with a poke to the eye and jockeys for position in a backslide with Smash. Smash eventually wins but Andre quickly breaks it up before the count. Ax tags in, Haku catches him with a thrust chop to the throat, which the ref doesn’t see and now the Connection are in control. Heenan gets in on the action as well, slapping Ax in the face, and Andre headbutts him from the apron. Haku goes for a cover, Smash breaks it up. Ax tries to fight back and gets another thumb to the eye and settles into a NERVE HOLD. Bleh. Haku goads Smash into the ring with a kick, distracting the ref so Andre can choke Ax with the tag rope. Haku connects with a shoulderbreaker but Ax kicks out and Haku complains of a slow count. Ax catches a charging Haku with a boot and follows up with a clothesline. Smash gets the hot tag and goes to work on Haku, hitting him with a double axhandle but leaves the pin to hit Andre. Ax runs in and Demolition belt both Connection members with a double clothesline. Andre holds Smash, Haku accidentally hits his own partner with a thrust kick, inadvertently tying Andre in the ropes. Demolition take advantage and finish Haku off with Demolition Decapitation for the 1…2…3.

Demolition defeated The Colossal Connection [c] to win the WWF WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP following a Demolition Decapitation on Haku (9:15)

  • Due to Andre’s deteriorating physical condition Haku wrestled the entirety of the match, with the big man only hitting brief strikes until succumbing to the ol’ ‘tied up in the ropes’ routine he relied on at the end of his career. It didn’t make for an exciting match or anything but I commend the Connection for trying to make it work. Crowd loved the finish as well so they did their job. I believe Demolition were the first team (at least since the 80s expansion) to win the Tag Team Championship three times, adding to their other record of longest-reigning title reign (that WWE scrubbed out as soon as they could following Ax and Smash being named as members of a concussion lawsuit against them). Good on ‘em. (*3/4)

A heated Heenan blames Andre for the loss, poking him in the chest and slapping him until the Giant can take no more. Andre grabs Heenan by the jacket collar and belts him with slaps and a right hand. Haku tries to attack Andre from behind, but Andre catches the thrust kick and headbutts him out of the ring as well, the crowd going wild. Heenan and Haku try to leave on the ring cart, Andre knocks them off and leaves on it himself, soaking in the cheers of the crowd and giving himself a graceful exit from in-ring competition. It wasn’t necessarily planned as such but that’s how it ended up working out.

-‘Mean’ Gene is standing by backstage with Earthquake and Jimmy Hart. The music of his opponent Hercules can be heard in the background as Earthquake yells about tremors and destruction and other earthquake-related things. Metaphors!

‘The Mighty’ Hercules vs. Earthquake [w/ ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart]

Earthquake made his debut the year before as a plant in the audience, helping Dino Bravo attack and beat up The Ultimate Warrior. Initially billed as ‘The Canadian Earthquake’, he’s dropped the Canada part as well as that poop-brown singlet he started off wrestling in and his schtick has been sending his opponents away on a stretcher. Hercules and Earthquake even have a little history, as the latter eliminated the former in their Survivor Series match at the 1989 event. Monsoon calls Earthquake a ‘BOhemith’ during his entrance. That’s not how you say the thing, though I’m sure Bo Dallas would approve.

Earthquake tries a sneak attack, Hercules dodges and makes with the jabs. He gets distracted with Hart though and that gives Quake a chance to exit the ring and regroup to break the momentum. Quake jumps up and down to rattle the ring (an EARTHQUAKE, perhaps?), then calls for a test of strength. Ever the tough guy, Herc obliges and almost immediately gets sent to one knee. The crowd claps Hercules back to his feet but Quake belts him with a forearm across the back. Hercules tries to take Quake off his feet with shoulderblocks and clotheslines but is only successful in getting him down to one knee. Hercules goes for the Torture Rack like an idiot and Quake easily fights him off, winning shortly after with the Earthquake Splash.

Earthquake defeated Hercules via pinfall with the Earthquake Splash (4:53)

  • Quick and relatively easy win for the big man, who continues his undefeated streak. This is Hercules’ penultimate WrestleMania and his final one as a singles wrestler, and he goes out with a bang putting the next big monster heel over. I’m going to miss seeing him on these shows; he’s been a constant for these recaps so far and one of the standouts at least for me. (**)

Earthquake doesn’t relent and hits another Earthquake Splash, the ‘aftershock’ EEF YOU WHEEEL. Hercules doesn’t get carried out on a stretcher like Quake’s other victims though, able to stand on his own. HE’S SO MIGHTY…and is headed towards a heel turn and tag team competition as one-half of Power & Glory. Don’t remember them? I don’t blame you.

-We go to a cozy interview set-up where relevant at the time TV personality Rona Barrett is standing by with Miss Elizabeth. Barrett asks where Liz has been, Liz says most of her involvement has been in an advisory position away from the ring. Liz has been thinking about returning to ringside though and promises to be a more active participant than she has been in the past.

-Cut to the locker room where Sean Mooney is with Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake. Beefcake vows to sever the PERFECT record of Mr. Perfect.

Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake vs. Mr. Perfect [w/ The Genius]

Beefcake and Perfect started feuding at the Royal Rumble earlier in the year, when Beefcake was attacked during his match with The Genius. Perfect has technically been on an undefeated streak since he debuted, despite losing the Rumble match and on house shows (one that aired before this PPV on MSG TV). Beefcake is at peak popularity and in-ring ability here, only a freak parasailing accident could derail his momen-oh…oh no…

Like EVERY heel so far on this show Perfect sneak attacks Beefcake and pummels him in the corner. Beefcake swaps the momentum and sends Perfect flying out to the floor with a right hand. Beefcake immediately pulls him back in and connects with an atomic drop, sending Perfect flying out to the floor once again. Perfect is on his oversell game tonight. Beefcake sends Perfect into the corner a couple of times, Perfect flipping to the mat each time to sell the intensity of the throw. Mary Tyler Moore is shown to be watching the event in the front row. Beefcake and the ref get distracted with The Genius, who throws his metal scroll into the ring. Perfect belts Beefcake with it but doesn’t immediately go for the pin like a WEIRDO, instead opting to pummel his foe. Perfect talks trash, Beefcake sweeps the legs and slingshots him right into the ring post (well his hand, but let’s pretend), covering for the 1…2…3. THE PERFECT STREAK IS OVER.

Brutus Beefcake defeated Mr. Perfect via pinfall after a slingshot into the ring post (7:48)

  • Not particularly interesting outside of Perfect’s overselling but a good win for Beefcake, and a nice notch on his belt as the conqueror of Perfect’s streak. Fun fact: the slingshot into the post is the same way that Perfect lost the AWA World Heavyweight Championship to Jerry Lawler on his way out of that company. Okay maybe that’s only fun to me. (**)

Beefcake wants to cut Perfect’s hair, but Genius steals his giant garden shears he never actually uses for anything and heads up the aisle. Beefcake catches him and brings him back to the ring. Perfect leaves on the ring cart like a big ol’ jerk as Beefcake puts Genius to sleep and uses a smaller pair of scissors to go a cuttin’.

-A video plays highlighting the feud between Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown, which began at the Royal Rumble when they eliminated each other from the Rumble match. We then go to ‘Mean’ Gene who’s with Piper himself. Piper has PAINTED HALF HIS BODY BLACK, calling that side the ‘Hot Scot’, and cuts a promo about Brown’s face and OH GOD I CAN’T EVEN LOOK AT THIS MAN. I would ask how this sorta nonsense could fly in 1990 but the WWF did think Saba Simba was a good idea shortly after this so I shouldn’t be surprised. GROSS. GROSS GROSS GROSS.

‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper vs. Bad News Brown

Piper’s “black” side includes dancing and jiving because of course it does. I know it’s supposed to psych Brown out but this is such a tone-deaf thing to do. They keep trying to brawl but referee ‘Dangerous’ Danny Davis separates them every time. Davis was still a wrestler as of 1989, I guess things changed real quick for him. Brown belts Piper with rights and a headbutt and says he’ll teach him what it means to be black. Piper no-sells buckle shots but gets felled with some thrust chops under the chin. Goddammit NERVEHOLD TIME. They exchange rights, Brown drops Piper and chokes him into a lateral press for two. Piper pokes Brown in the eye and catches a judo kick, unloading with jabs in the corner. Brown responds with an eye rake and takes off a top turnbuckle pad to expose the steel. His plan fails and Piper sends him chest-first into the bolt instead. Piper puts on a GLOVE on his BLACK SIDE (gag me with a spoon), each strike dropping Brown to sell that the glove is probably loaded. Brown gets sent to the floor, Piper pulls him out but accidentally punches the post. Piper grabs a chair and takes a swing but Brown ducks. The ref calls for the bell.

Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown fought to a double countout (6:47)

  • A lame brawl with a real stupid gimmick from Piper that just soured me on it right from the get go. I hate this match and everything about it, save for Ventura playing face on commentary for once since he and Piper starred in a TV pilot together for a terrible show. Ugh. (DUD)

Piper and Brown keep brawling as referees spill to ringside to break them up. It’s not successful, Piper and Brown fighting all the way up the aisle.

Steve Allen, the original Tonight Show host, is in the showers complete with a piano to rehearse the Russian National Anthem with The Bolsheviks. Naturally Allen sings other random songs instead, infuriating the foreign heels to the YUKS of everybody’s grandfathers. Before Allen can play the song for real a toilet flushes and an enraged Nikolai Volkoff has to be held back by Boris Zhukov as Allen takes it back to ringside. I’ll admit it, I laughed. Steve Allen is so goofy and wholesome.

The Hart Foundation (Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart & Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart) vs. The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukov)

The Bolsheviks try to sing the Russian National Anthem, The Hart Foundation attack them from behind and finish Zhukov off with the Hart Attack for the quick and easy win.

The Hart Foundation defeated The Bolsheviks when Bret Hart pinned Boris Zhukov following a Hart Attack (0:19)

  • Welcome home Bret, have a 19 second match to celebrate. While not OFFICIALLY so, this is the new shortest match in WrestleMania history, beating King Kong Bundy/S.D. Jones from the first event that actually went 20+ seconds. So there’s that? Hart Foundation are in line for a title shot and will get it at SummerSlam later in the year in a match much longer than this one. (NR)

-WrestleMania VII is announced for next year, to be held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. That doesn’t end up happening but it’s a nice thought.

Tito Santana vs. The Barbarian [w/ Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan]

After a couple years of spinning their wheels, the WWF broke up The Powers of Pain in early-1990, The Barbarian joining The Heenan Family. Tito Santana gets to cut a quick ‘ARRIBA!’ promo before his entrance, ‘Mean’ Gene mentioning that this is his sixth WrestleMania in a row. Santana is wearing his own merchandise to the ring. That’ll never catch on in pro wrestling, pfft.

Santana escapes the corner and pummels Barbarian until the ref forces him out, giving Barbarian a chance to take a break and seek advice from Heenan. Santana takes Barbarian down with a crossbody but can’t get the pinfall, so he goes to wear him down with a standing side headlock. Barbarian escapes and catches Santana with a hip toss but misses a headbutt. Barbarian escapes another headlock and this time comes out on top with a big boot. Barbarian connects with a shoulderbreaker but misses a tightrope elbow from the middle rope. Santana finally knocks Barbarian down with a pair of dropkicks and hits the Flying Forearm for the 1…2…Heenan puts Barbarian’s foot on the rope. Santana escapes a slam and tries an O’Connor Roll but Barbarian goes through the ropes and sends him neck-first into the top rope. Barbarian follows it up with a flying clothesline, turning Santana inside out, and it’s over.

The Barbarian defeated Tito Santana via pinfall with a flying clothesline (4:33)

 

  • A fine showcase win for Barbarian, defeating an established talent to build up his new singles career. Sadly it never takes off like it had the potential to, partly thanks to a wardrobe change in 1991 where he LITERALLY dresses like a Barbarian, but he’ll have some more prominent success in WCW come 1992. Santana loses another one and although he’s been on every WrestleMania so far his record stands at 1-5. The Streak it ain’t. (**)

-A video airs from Royal Rumble where Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire brawled with Randy Savage and, uh, Brother Love. Savage’s Queen Sherri got involved in their follow-up singles match, forcing Sapphire to get involved as well and now we’re getting the first mixed tag team match in WWF history.

-After the video we go to the locker room where Sean Mooney is standing by with Rhodes and ‘Sweet’ Sapphire. Rhodes mocks Savage and Sherri pretending to be king and queen, for they are commoners. Rhodes teases a ‘Crown Jewel’ and we go to the ring for Savage and Sherri’s introduction. Rhodes and Sapphire are out next and unveil their crown jewel: the returning Miss Elizabeth! OH SNAP. Ventura and Monsoon are both shocked to see her like she didn’t just have an interview with Rona Barrett earlier in the show.

Mixed Tag Team Match
‘The Common Man’ Dusty Rhodes & ‘Sweet’ Sapphire [w/ Miss Elizabeth] vs. ‘The Macho King’ Randy Savage & Sensational ‘Queen’ Sherri

Savage lost the WWF Championship in the main event of last year’s WrestleMania and after decisively losing his feud with Hulk Hogan became ‘The Macho King’, “ruling” the WWF with his Queen Sherri by his side. Not quite as glamorous but if it was good enough for Harley Race it’s good enough for Randy Savage. Rhodes is making his one and only in-ring WrestleMania appearance here, having come to the WWF as the polka-dotted ‘Common Man’ in 1989 after being fired from his wrestling and booking duties in the NWA due to violating their “No Blood” policy for a storyline with The Road Warriors. That was a long sentence, I’m sorry. A lot of folks consider Rhodes’ wrestling run here an elaborate joke on The American Dream, but Rhodes made it work on sheer charisma alone and ended up being popular anyway. Sometimes it’s hard to keep talent down. Also it’s kinda funny that both Rhodes and Virgil, who was named as such to throw shade at Rhodes during his NWA tenure, ended up in the same company anyway. We’re lucky the world didn’t implode when they finally fought.

Rhodes easily drops Savage, Sherri tries to get involved and Sapphire grabs her by the hair as the crowd pops. Rhodes catches Savage and throws him into Sherri, clearing the ring. Sapphire tags in, so that means Sherri has to go in which Rhodes helps with by throwing her in the ring. Sapphire shoves Sherri into Savage and hits some weak hip attacks, hopping around like Muhammad Ali. Sapphire with an airplane spin but only gets one. Sherri shoves Sapphire down and tries to slam her but she’s too big and Sapphire lands on top for a two-count. Rhodes tags in and Sherri begs off, Savage charges in and gets dropped with a clothesline. Rhodes holds Savage and Sapphire slaps him, ENRAGING Ventura since it’s only supposed to be the men against the men and the women against the women. Savage tosses Rhodes out to the floor and unloads on him with right hands, Sherri getting in her licks as well behind the ref’s back. Savage goes for a flying double axhandle but Sapphire steps in front of him. Savage throws her to the ground, angering the crowd in the process, and tries but fails to keep Rhodes down for a three-count when the action returns to the ring. Savage grabs his scepter and nails Rhodes from behind with it while the ref is tied up with Sherri. Sherri tags in and hits Rhodes with a Superfly Splash for the 1…2…Rhodes easily throws her off. Rhodes with a double noggin knocker to the royal duo. Sherri jumps on Rhodes’ back, Sapphire tags in and pulls her off with a snapmare for a one-count. Sherri slaps her and they start pulling hair, Sapphire winning the war and sending her out to the floor. Liz throws Sherri back in and Sapphire covers but Savage pulls her off. Rhodes attacks Savage and Sherri goes after Liz. Liz pushes her over Sapphire, who then rolls her up for the 1…2…3! A WIN FOR US COMMONERS!

Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire defeated Randy Savage & Sensational Sherri when Sapphire pinned Sherri with a roll-up (7:31)

  • Entertaining experiment from the WWF, who had no experience with these kinds of matches. Ventura laying into Monsoon being a hypocrite about Rhodes putting his hands on Sherri was tremendous, even back then you could tell he was a man built for politics. Also Liz getting physical was a nice change of pace, something foreshadowed in the earlier interview so it’s nice to see that pay off. Not a great match by any means but it’s the most fun I’ve had with any of these contests so far and I’ll take it. (**1/4)

Rhodes chases away Savage and Sherri, then celebrates by dancing with Sapphire and Miss Elizabeth. This is the last we see of Liz until next year’s WrestleMania I believe, which is one of the greatest moments in WWF history and I can’t wait. Liz is VERY WHITE in her dance moves, clapping out of rhythm to boot, and it’s the best.

-We’re in the intermission of the show, so now it’s time for a whole lot of promos. First up is Bobby Heenan, who’s with ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund. A crazy sweaty Heenan screams about Andre The Giant’s betrayal and vows to bring in new members to his family.

-Cut to Monsoon and Ventura, who are with Rona Barrett. SHE IS A VERY TINY WOMAN. Barrett has brought footage of Ventura in a porn flick but before we get to see it, Ventura quickly forces a cut away.

-Sean Mooney is in the locker room with Randy Savage and Sensational Sherri, who are IRATE. Savage says suffering builds character and Rhodes is going to learn a lot about character going forward OOOOH YEAHHHH.

-‘Mean’ Gene is with the new Tag Team Champions Demolition, who gloat about their victory. Okerlund brings up The Hart Foundation, Demolition seem ready and willing to fight them.

-Monsoon and Ventura are back at the announce booth, who go over what we’ve seen so far on the show.

-‘Mean’ Gene is back, this time with WWF Champion Hulk Hogan to cut a crazy ass promo on The Ultimate Warrior, saying he and his Hulkamaniacs can save him and help him and his Warriors see the light. Hogan says it only matters what kind of winner or loser you are, and he hopes that Warrior is a good loser.

-Sean Mooney tries to interview WWF Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior but Warrior shoos him off since he’s not allowed to breath the same air as him. Warrior tells Hogan’s insanity to hold his beer and launches into a bunch of nonsense, peppered with ‘HOLK HOEGAN’s for flavor.

The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) vs. The Orient Express (Sato & Tanaka) [w/ Mr. Fuji]

The Rockers come to the ring on the cart, which takes away from their usual energetic entrance a bit. I love the ring carts, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel right for some of the wrestlers to use them. Imagine if The Ultimate Warrior came out on one instead of ran to the ring. ANYWAY this should be a good contest between two teams who were solid but apparently not solid enough to become Tag Team Champions (in the WWF, Rockers and Tanaka both had runs in the AWA).

Jannetty drops Tanaka to one knee, Tanaka responds with a savate kick that sends him into the corner. Tanaka charges, Jannetty connects with a powerslam, Rockers throws Tanaka into Sato and clear the ring. Stereo slingshot planchas and the crowd is all about Michaels and Jannetty. Fuji hooks the top rope and Jannetty spills out to the floor, where he and Sato cheap shot him behind the ref’s back. Jannetty lands on his feet to counter a backdrop and Michaels tags in for a double dropkick. Sato tags in and has his backdrop countered with a neckbreaker. Nice try, man. Sato reverses and Irish whip and Tanaka kicks him from the apron to bring control back to the Express. Sato follows up with a gutwrench into a gutbuster and Tanaka tags in with a twisting crossbody that almost looked like a damn headbutt. Maybe it was, I don’t know. I DON’T WATCH WRESTLING. Express almost get a pinfall after a kneedrop from Sato but Michaels manages to kick out. Michaels reverses an Irish whip, Tanaka flips over a backdrop attempt but gets turned INSIDE OUT with a clothesline after taking too long to gloat. Jannetty gets the hot tag as Monsoon accuses The Rockers of being lethargic, seemingly an inside jab at their partying lifestyles outside the ring. Rockers clear Sato from the ring with a double dropkick then hit a double backdrop on Tanaka. They climb to the top, Fuji taps Jannetty on the ankle with his cane. Fuji drops his cane, Jannetty teases attacking him with it, but instead gets a face full of FOREIGN SALT from Sato. A blinded Jannetty stumbles into the crowd and can’t get back into the ring, so the ref calls for the bell.

The Orient Express defeated The Rockers via countout (7:37)

  • A countout finish is pretty lame but at least they jazzed it up with the classic handful of salt routine. This match wasn’t bad for the most part but they have a MUCH better one at next year’s Royal Rumble, when Sato is replaced by the masked Kato. Side note this might be the only Orient Express win I’ve seen to this day and it’s weirdly jarring. (**1/4)

-We go back to Steve Allen, who interviews Rhythm & Blues in the latter’s personal locker room. The Honky Tonk Man hypes the impending debut of their new single ‘Honka Honka Honky Love’, Allen says Honky reminds him of Elvis…COSTELLO. Ha…ha…ha? Honky says their concert tonight will be bigger than a Beatles reunion and continues no-selling Allen’s jokes. Alright then.

‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan vs. ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ Dino Bravo [w/ ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart & Earthquake]

Bravo has apparently graduated from being Canada’s strongest man to the entire WORLD’s strongest man. Good for him. Duggan’s pro-USA gimmick is in full force here, despite being in Canada which Ventura mocks him for. The crowd gives him ALL OF THE SHIT and rightfully so. This is pretty funny.

Bravo throws Duggan off of him and showboats, but the crowd doesn’t care if he Canadian they still hate him for the most part. Duggan belts Bravo with a clothesline and a back bodydrop. Bravo takes a second to regroup on the floor but it doesn’t matter as he falls victim to an atomic drop and some count-a-long rights. Bravo dodges a corner splash and goes on the attack with thrust chops right below the chin. Earthquake gets in some illegal choking of his own while the ref is tied up with Bravo, who then connects with a running elbowdrop for a two-count. Duggan peppers Bravo with jabs but Bravo counters his backdrop and goes a stompin’. Bravo charges, Duggan catches him with a knee and a trio of clotheslines. Duggan sets up for the Three-Point Stance but Earthquake grabs his leg. Hart distracts the ref and Bravo tries to use Duggan’s 2×4 but Hacksaw stops him and wallops him with the wood instead for the 1…2…3.

Jim Duggan defeated Dino Bravo via pinfall by hitting him with a 2×4 (4:14)

  • That…was not very good, unfortunately, but at least they kept it short I guess? Not much to say about this one. (*1/4)

Earthquake immediately attacks Duggan and flattens him with three Earthquake Splashes. Ventura is cool with this since Duggan hit Bravo with a foreign object.

-A video plays recapping the feud between Jake Roberts and Ted DiBiase. It sorta started last year at WrestleMania V when DiBiase tried to steal Damien from ringside but didn’t really take until DiBiase starting parading around with his Million Dollar Championship. Following the video DiBiase and Virgil make their entrance to the ring.

-Cut backstage where Roberts cuts possibly his greatest promo ever, calmly saying he’s going to make DiBiase a victim of his own greed, wallowing in the muck of avarice. GODDAMN. It’s a real shame he never got a chance at the WWF Championship, he would have killed it at the top of the mountain.

The Million Dollar Championship
‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase [c] [w/ Virgil] vs. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts

The Million Dollar Championship isn’t an officially sanctioned title but it’s on the line here because why the hell not? Roberts gets the early advantage and tries for the DDT but DiBiase quickly slides out and bails to the floor to cut momentum. Both men miss elbowdrops and DiBiase escapes the DDT a couple more times. Roberts pulls DiBiase back into the ring and applies a hammerlock, bringing him to the mat and driving a knee repeatedly into the arm. DiBiase eventually reverses it but Roberts uses his momentum to drive him out of the ring. DiBiase counters a backdrop attempt but runs into a knee in the corner. Roberts tries to follow up with a kneelift but DiBiase dodges it and he launches himself almost right on top of his head. NICE. DiBiase goes to work and locks in a front facelock, the restless crowd entertaining themselves with THE WAVE. I’m sure Roberts and DiBiase were super happy about that. DiBiase beats Roberts down and tries to get the crowd back into the match with a piledriver, which does appear to get them booing again like he wants them to. Roberts rolls him up with a surprise sunset flip but DiBiase kicks out and drives a whole lot of knees to the back. DiBiase slaps on the Million Dollar Dream and Roberts drops to the mat, getting his foot on the rope to break the hold and the follow-up pinfall attempt. DiBiase drags Roberts in the middle of the ring and this time Roberts kicks out emphatically. Roberts drops DiBiase with a clothesline and a loud ‘DDT’ chant breaks out as The Snake continues his comeback. Roberts signals for the DDT and the crowd goes APE, but the ref gets distracted with Virgil who sneakily pulls him out to the floor. Roberts responds by slamming Virgil on the protective mats. DiBiase applies a Million Dollar Dream, Roberts sends him into the post but Virgil throws him back into the ring to beat the count and THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN WINS.

Ted DiBiase [c] defeated Jake Roberts via countout to retain the MILLION DOLLAR CHAMPIONSHIP (11:55)

  • The crowd worked themselves up in a frenzy, initially being distracting during The Wave, but they channeled that energy into the match just in time for the final few minutes and Roberts’ comeback. Match was a bit on the slow side, not as heated as I would have expected given the feud between these two, but good enough. The countout finish was lame though. (**)

Roberts hits DiBiase and Virgil with a double clothesline, sending the money in Virgil’s hand flying. Virgil runs off and escapes with the Million Dollar Championship, Roberts finally hits the DDT on DiBiase to give the crowd what they were hoping for. Roberts takes the money strewn about and hands it to folks at ringside, including Mary Tyler Moore. If anyone needs money it’s obviously the folks who can afford front row tickets and a TV icon. Roberts stuffs a C-note down DiBiase’s throat then unleashes Damien but Virgil returns just in time to pull DiBiase out of snake’s way. Roberts puts Damien on his snake and runs to the back to terrorize them off-screen.

-Sean Mooney is standing by with Akeem and Slick. The Twin Towers EXPLODE here tonight. Big Boss Man turned face after refusing money from Ted DiBiase, leading to this feud. Slick says DiBiase has given he and Akeem ‘thousands’ of reasons to be judge, jury, and executioner tonight.

-We then cut to ‘Mean’ Gene who’s with Big Boss Man. Boss Man says he doesn’t take money from anybody, including scum like Ted DiBiase. HE AIN’T A DIRTY COP. Boss Man says he’s proud to walk the ring himself, of being a cop, and BEING AN AMERICAN. Does anyone remember they’re in Canada? Come on.

The Big Boss Man vs. Akeem ‘The African Dream’ [w/ ‘The Doctor of Style’ Slick]

Last year these two were beating on the much smaller Rockers, now they’re at odds with each other because Boss Man has too much integrity to take bribes for some reason. This is Akeem’s last big moment as well, as he would leave the company soon after, returning to his much less ridiculous One Man Gang gimmick and even getting a brief run as WCW United States Heavyweight Champion. I still can’t believe that was a thing but hey it was.

Boss Man gets attacked before the bell by Ted DiBiase, who apparently hung around after the previous match to be a jerk. DiBiase rolls him in and Akeem immediately goes on the attack, but Boss Man rebounds in short order and wins with the Boss Man Slam, The Twin Towers’ blow-off match barely lasting for a cup of coffee.

The Big Boss Man defeated Akeem via pinfall with the Boss Man Slam (1:44 or so?)

  • I never heard a bell ring so I started the stopwatch when DiBiase rolled Boss Man into the ring, take it with a grain of salt (and sorry for overexplaining, but that’s kinda my thing). Not really much of anything here, and Boss Man getting the easy win despite being beat up before the match even started made Akeem look like an even bigger joke. Fair enough. (NR)

Boss Man immediately grabs Slick and belts him with a right hand, getting revenge on his former manager as well.

-Sean Mooney is in on the floor of the Skydome to talk with some dork kid about Rhythm & Blues, kid says Honky Tonk Man can’t even sing so you know he’s a dirty little LIAR. A little girl knows the name of the upcoming song though because she’s legit. Mooney then tries to ask Mary Tyler Moore about Rhythm & Blues but she has no idea what’s going on. She’s a sweetheart though and plays along anyway. Mary Tyler Moore is a national treasure.

In-Ring Segment: Honka Honka Honky Love

Fink introduces Rhythm & Blues and their manager ‘The Colonel’ Jimmy Hart to the ring, driven out with a pair of poodle skirt backup singers in a pink Cadillac driven by an uncredited Diamond Dallas Page. Page got the gig because he owned the Cadillac in question. It’s a sweet car, I’ll give him that. BAAAAANG. Hart has a Gold Record of the song, which hasn’t even debuted yet. Love it.

The Honky Tonk Man doesn’t want to waste anyone’s time and launches into ‘Honka Honka Honky Love’, Greg Valentine and his dyed-black hair pretending to play guitar. I don’t think anyone can actually hear the backing track since they’re singing off-time. Maybe that’s the point? I don’t know. VALENTINE EVEN SINGS, I FORGOT ABOUT THAT! The song concludes (which is actually kinda good, shut up) and The Bushwhackers show up to chase them from the ring, disguised as WWF merchandise peddlers. Apparently this is a feud happening on TV, we lucked out by not having to see the match itself on this show. Luke and Butch proceed to break the guitars of Honky and Valentine to the sort-of joy of the crowd who really want the main event already, please and thank you. I loved this segment as a kid, and I still love it now.

-Fink announces that WrestleMania VI has set a Skydome record with 67,678 people in attendance. Nice! Doesn’t beat their own record in Canada though, that was set back in 1986 at The Big Event which had 74,000 in attendance.

‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka vs. ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude [w/ Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan]

Steve Allen joins Monsoon and Ventura on commentary and spends his time telling his old-timey jokes. Rude has dropped his super curly perm and looks all the better for it, but doesn’t get to do his disrobing routing so WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT OF THIS SHOW? Snuka returned (VERY RANDOMLY) at last year’s WrestleMania and has been used mainly to put other people over. Case in point this match.

Rude attacks Snuka from behind but misses a dropkick and Snuka take control with a high-impact faceplant and back bodydrop. Snuka is looking REAL PALE here, it’s weirdly jarring. Snuka sends Rude to the floor, Rude tries a sunset flip but Snuka counters with a right hand. Rude catches a ducking Snuka with a snap suplex but Superfly goes back on the attack and knocks some teeth out with a running headbutt (not really but shhh). Snuka plants Rude with a scoop slam and heads to the second turnbuckle. Rude dodges the flying headbutt and finishes him off with the Rude Awakening for the 1…2…3.

Rick Rude defeated Jimmy Snuka via pinfall with the Rude Awakening (3:50)

  • Decisive win for Rude to build him up. He goes on to challenge for the WWF Championship in his final WWF PPV appearance at SummerSlam later in the year. Snuka also does the honors for someone next year, the first part of a historic Streak…but we’ll hit that in the next recap. (*1/2)

-A video recaps the rivalry between Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, which began during the main event of the Royal Rumble earlier in the year. They teamed up to defeat Mr. Perfect & The Genius a week later on Saturday Night’s Main Event, Warrior accidentally clotheslining Hogan in the chaos of a post-match attack. Fast forward to February’s The Main Event where Hogan saves Warrior from Earthquake’s post-match attack, which Warrior takes offense to. On an episode of Superstars a few weeks later it’s Warrior’s turn to save Hogan from Earthquake, this time Hogan taking offense. Warrior almost clotheslines Hogan but stops himself and runs off. Rock and roll. GOD I LOVE THIS MATCH. Oh, uh, spoiler alert.

WWF Championship
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Hulk Hogan [WWF Champion] vs. The Ultimate Warrior [WWF Intercontinental Champion]

Hogan and Warrior meet eye to eye, handing their belts over to the ref without breaking contact while the crowd goes absolutely INSANE. Warrior shoves Hogan, Hogan shoves back, each receiving a loud pop for doing so. They lock up and Warrior sends Hogan flying into the corner. Second lock up and this time, after a longer struggle, he throws Warrior into the corner. A surprised Warrior calls for a test of strength, Hogan obliges with nary a hesitation and they start jockeying for position. The arms go up and Warrior brings Hogan to his knees. Hogan gets back to his feet and now Warrior falls to his knees. They’re equally strong, do you get it yet? DO YOU GET IT YET? Warrior gets back to his feet, Hogan sends him to the mat and drops an elbow for a one-count. Warrior immediately gets back to his feet and we get a criss cross. Hogan drops down and catches Warrior with a scoop slam. Warrior IMMEDIATELY pops back up, back to the criss cross, Warrior slams him back but Hogan doesn’t get back up as quickly. The paint on Warrior’s chest is already completely gone. Warrior clotheslines Hogan out to the floor, who lands on his left knee and starts limping around the ring. Hogan tells the ref his knee is gone and will try to get himself back in. Warrior shoves the ref inside and rolls Hogan back in the squared circle. Warrior goes right after the knee and they exchange eye rakes and chokes. Ventura LOVES seeing these two good guys breaking rules. The ref gets in the middle to force a break, Warrior argues with him and Hogan attacks from behind. His knee is apparently fine now. Hogan follows up with a corner clothesline and some count-a-long rights in a corner mount. Hogan drops a couple of elbows and covers but only gets a two-count. To a front facelock we go. Monsoon calls it a punishing hold, Ventura replies ‘Just ask Richard Belzer’. IT’S A SHOOT, BROTHER.

Hogan peppers Warrior with rights and chops in the corner, followed by an AXE BOMB-AH that’s just a clothesline here in North America for the 1…2…Warrior kicks out once again. Hogan continues going to work but Warrior keeps getting out before the count of three, frustrating the World Champ. Hogan switches to a reverse chinlock to wear Warrior down. Hogan breaks it to drive a few knees into the spine, following up with a belly-to-back suplex for the 1…the 2…the Warrior kicks out and Hogan takes him back to Chinlock City. Warrior wakes up and escapes the hold and the duo take each other out with a double clothesline. Warrior wakes up and starts shaking the ropes, Hogan’s strikes doing no damage. Warrior hits three running clotheslines and repeatedly whips Hogan into opposite corners to wear him down. Warrior connects with a vertical suplex for the 1…2…Hogan ain’t out of this one yet. Warrior waits for Hogan to get to his feet and locks in a standing bearhug. I’m letting this one slide, but I’m NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT.

Hogan almost fades out, but finds a burst of energy from his Hulkamaniacs and escapes with a series of right hands. Warrior charges but misses Hogan, instead blasting the referee. The match continues anyway and Warrior hits a pair of flying double axhandles Randy Savage-style. He goes for his running shoulderblock but Hogan drives him into the canvas after dodging. Hogan covers and gets the visual pin, counting the fall himself, but the ref is still out cold. Hogan gets distracted with this and Warrior catches him with a belly-to-back suplex, getting a visual pin of his own. The ref finally wakes up and Warrior stays on the cover for the 1…2…HOGAN GETS HIS SHOULDER UP. Hogan pokes Warrior in the eye and rolls him up for the 1…2…WARRIOR KICKS OUT. Hogan sends Warrior out to the floor with a back elbow and they start exchanging fists. Warrior rams Hogan into the post, then back in we go. Warrior with the Gorilla Press Slam followed by the Running Splash for the 1…2…HOGAN KICKS OUT AND STARTS HULKING UP. Hogan launches into his comeback but MISSES THE BIG LEGDROP and Warrior hits the Running Splash for the 1…2…3! WARRIOR DID IT!

The Ultimate Warrior [c] defeated Hulk Hogan [c] via pinfall with the Running Splash to win the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP and retain the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (22:47)

  • I have seen this match so many times that I’ve lost count and every time, EVERY DAMN TIME, I get swept up into it. It’s a tremendously well-laid out match, playing to the strengths of both men while successfully hiding their weaknesses, and making sure that both guys looked like equals throughout. On paper you think a Hogan/Warrior match would be absolutely dreadful, and WCW would in a way prove that 8 years later at Halloween Havoc, but by a goddamn miracle they had one of the greatest matches in WWF history and honestly, to me, my favorite WrestleMania main event of all-time. I can’t say enough great stuff about this one, if you haven’t watched it you need to do so as soon as possible. There’s even a whole Network you can check this out on, so you have no excuse. (****3/4)

A dejected Hogan grabs the WWF Championship and hands it to Warrior, embracing him in what should have been a true passing of the torch moment (which doesn’t take, but for now let’s just enjoy it). Hogan leaves on the ring cart, Warrior saluting him before going back to celebrating, the Skydome turning into a pyrotechnics display as the show concludes.

*****

Overall Thoughts: WrestleMania VI is pretty much THE definition of a ‘one match show’ but WHAT A MATCH IT IS. The undercard isn’t bad by any stretch, but it isn’t particularly memorable and felt like filler to build anticipation to the Ultimate Challenge. This has been my favorite WrestleMania since I first rented the Coliseum Video at Blockbuster as a kid, and remains so to this day. I can watch this front to back and never tire of it. Due to my nostalgia and personal love for the event I have to say this is a definite must-watch but your mileage may vary. At least watch Hogan/Warrior, man. Especially if you sat through their Halloween Havoc 1998 hellscape.

  • Match of the Night: Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior
  • Moment of the Night: Andre The Giant turns on The Heenan Family and leaves the Skydome a hero once again
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s